8 items from 2014
Since the hubbub of Oscar season has finally died away and we can look past the strategy of campaigns, August: Osage County arrives on Blu-ray for reexamination. Perhaps distance and time will finally melt those rosy-tinted glasses so many seem to have donned for the experience of the film, as multiple viewings only enhance its creaky strokes of forced melodrama. As with her nomination for 1999’s Music of the Heart, her unnecessary accolades for this appear to be overwhelmingly kiss ass. It’s a mode we’ve seen Ms. Streep in before, that of the highly nuanced harpy with complicated and convoluted depth; only it all feels so incredibly constrained and affected that it’s difficult to believe a single minute of it.
When something sounds too good to be true, it often is, and while John Wells certainly wasn’t the most inspired choice to helm the adaptation of »
- Nicholas Bell
Red Eye Media
"Cheap Thrills" is a nasty little piece, a black comedy that's both bleakly nihilistic and pointedly diabolical.
Taking a thought experiment to its most radical extremes, it's the kind of genre film that uses moments of humour and violence to provide withering critiques of its characters' behaviour. Whether this tale of dares gone too far is an indictment of our voyeuristic tendencies, a diatribe against increasing class divisiveness, or simply the logical extension of certain network game shows, "Cheap Thrills" is the opposite of its ironic title -- a rich, illuminating and at times incriminating look at the extremes of human behaviour.
Moviefone Canada spoke with the film's director E.L. Katz via Skype from what appeared to be either his lair or his arbitrary hotel assignment deep somewhere in Northern Europe.
Moviefone Canada: This is your debut feature, and it's a hell of a flick. How did the project come your way? »
- Jason Gorber
I have a special surprise for you NYC-area readers whose actressexuality extends beyond the silver screen to the stage. I have one pair of tickets for the March 12th dress rehearsal of the new Broadway play The Realistic Joneses to give away. It stars Toni Collette, Michael C Hall, and Marisa Tomei. I've seen all of them perform live and they're every bit as good on stage as they are onscreen (not something that can be said of all film actors!).
"How well do you know your neighbors?" The Realistic Joneses asks.
...a new play about love and life, friends and neighbors.
Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno and directed by Sam Gold (Fun Home, Seminar), it's an outrageous, inside look at the people who live next door, the truths we think we know and the secrets we never imagined we all might share. Hailed by The New York Times as "a tender, »
- NATHANIEL R
August: Osage County, 2013.
Directed by John Wells.
A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.
Sometimes a script comes together which functions solely to allow a star studied ensemble to chew scenery, shout, scream, and cry at each other and generally get the chance to show their acting range. Is there anything wrong with that? Not as far as I’m concerned, and that’s why August: Osage County is a rousing success.
- Gary Collinson
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Two of Tracy Letts's stage plays have already been brought to the screen, both by director William Friedkin. While the southern gothic jet-black "comedy" Killer Joe is more widely known, Bug remains the finer movie, largely because Friedkin attacks it like a full-blooded horror film, a screaming descent into paranoid terror. Crucially, both works are profoundly cinematic – functioning as films first, stage adaptations second.
The same cannot be said of August: Osage County, a typically ripe play transposed to the screen in uninspired fashion by ER stalwart John Wells. Shedding around an hour of the play's running time, Wells's adaptation is notable primarily for its A-list ensemble cast, all of whom relish the chance to sink their teeth into Letts's bilious dialogue. »
- Mark Kermode
Review Mark Harrison 24 Jan 2014 - 16:20
This adaptation of a Tracy Letts play desperately wants some awards, but if Mark has anything to do with it, it won't get them...
In the age of torrents, the screener discs that are sent out to critics and members of awards voting bodies during Oscar season have a tendency to turn up online. If you ever see a dodgy copy of one of these screeners, you'll presumably have your viewing experience briefly interrupted, every now and then, by an on-screen graphic with either a copyright notice or a “For Your Consideration” banner.
I saw August: Osage County in the cinema, upon its UK release date this weekend. Cinema releases are free of such digital graphics, but trust me - this is a film that has got “For Your Consideration” written all over it, and in no good way.
Based on a screenplay by Tracy Letts, »
Tracy Letts has adapted his Pulitzer prize-winning play for the screen. The actor and writer talks about fighting to keep it faithful to the original
When Tracy Letts accepted the Tony for best play in 2008, he finished his speech with a bitter kicker. "They did an amazing thing," he said, in reference to the backers of August: Osage County. "They decided to produce an American play, on Broadway, with theatre actors."
Those theatre actors who made Letts's mammoth play a sensation in Chicago, on Broadway and then in London have now been swapped for movie stars in the film version. The producers this time round, including George Clooney and Harvey Weinstein, have also done an amazing thing: produced a foul-mouthed and dark movie for grownups, maintaining the bulk of Letts's riotously funny but brutal three-hour play. The film has had varying degrees of Oscar buzz since the first trailer debuted – horse-race chatter that irritates Letts. »
- Katey Rich
The Sundance Premieres section is “A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated dramatic films of the coming year.”
Written and directed by Jake Paltrow
It’s always a mix of delight, discomfort, and teeth-grinding tension when Michael Shannon (Bug, Take Shelter, The Iceman) takes center stage. His exacting performances often subtly build upon instability and transfix the audience as a countdown to imminent emotional combustion begins. This sci-fi drama by Jake Paltrow (The Good Night) is set to showcase Shannon and rely on his strong air of deeply held convictions to boldly deliver the film’s gritty premise of humanity’s struggle in a future deprived of water. The rest of the acting ensemble are coming of age as promising talents that may complement Shannon’s gravitas. Elle Fanning shined in Ginger & Rosa while »
- Lane Scarberry
8 items from 2014
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